“it’s official; we’re now part of the Nation. We may not be able to select who’s in overall charge, but when have we ever in the last century? At least we can manage our own affairs, as long as we practice common sense and don’t try invading our neighbors. The Shemarrians even let us participate in our defense, and will even help arm and train us. That last bit sits mighty well with many of the younger generation; my granddaughter wants to join the warrior women legions bad, and the formation of the Militias is just the excuse she’s been looking for to get away from slopping pigs.”
Shemarrian Nation Militias
As the Shemarrian Nation consolidates its territories after the Shemarrian Civil War, many of the communities in their claimed lands have drawn closer to their host protectors. In the past, the Shemarrians left communities well enough alone (unless ARCHIE-3 considered them threats), leaving internal security to the locals, though they would occasionally supply them with scavenged weapons in trade, or allow them to scavenge battlefields after them. With the re-establishment of the Shemarrian Nation, and a greater proactivism towards their ‘wards’, the Shemarrians saw a growing reciprocity on the part of local communities to help in their own defense, and some village militias began to sortie in support of Shemarrian war parties in their area. The largest of these groups were typically from communities with large numbers of NeShemar living in residence, but a growing number included non-Shemar. Though some Tribal Elders feel that this pro-activism is perhaps due to the locals being falsely bolstered in confidence by the presence of their Shemarrian defenders, and not likely to last past a serious threat on the battlefield, other Shemar field commanders appreciate having extra forces to cover their backs. Some Tribes have begun directly equipping the militia forces, supplying them with new production weaponry (such as the NEMA-patterned gear available since the Tribes seized ARCHIE-3’s production works) and Tribal-patterned body armors (including increasingly prized suits of armor based on the old NEMA EBA-130 suits). Vehicles are more varied; some industrial communities build their own, while others are reliant on animal transport or vehicles acquired from elsewhere. Rarely do militia operate more than fifty miles or so from their home communities, so heavy transport rarely becomes an issue, but if joint operations require local militia to move great distances, or heavy equipment needs to be transported, the Shemarrians may provide assistance in the form of Warmount transport teams, or vehicles like the GaleHawk or Thorondor. Most such militia units will get some oversight and training from suitable experienced EShemar or NeShemar.
Shemarrian Nation militias aren’t anywhere near able to face off against such threats as the Splugorth or the Coalition States alone, but they serve quite ably as local scouts, communications troops, and community police. They work to protect commerce and travel routes through Shemarrian territory, resource gathering teams, and lines of communications, especially near the communities where the units were raised. They also serve to reinforce the legitimacy of the Shemarrian Nation, acting much like ‘state’ national guard of the pre-Rifts Golden Age.
Of the Rifts Earth Tribes, the following differences apply to SN militias:
The Hawkmoons oversee a fair number of militias in their territories. These groups enjoy almost constant aerial surveillance, courtesy of Shemarrian raptors in their areas. The Hawkmoons have been quick to supply their militia supporters with new weaponry, and choice salvage, especially of ground vehicles. Hawkmoon militias are well-trained in being forward spotters for air support, as they tend to rely on their Shemarrian protectors as ‘flying artillery’.
The DarkWaters support a surprising large number of militias, mainly of coastal communities. These units are typically engaged in fishery protection, but also protect harbor facilities, supply caches and navigational aides set up by the maritime Tribe. DarkWater militias are also proficient coast watchers, keeping an eye out for Splugorth and Horune activity especially.
The Blood Riders have no objection to militias in their smallish territories, as long as they get to periodically test them in challenges, both as units and as individuals. Perhaps understandably, militias in Blood Rider territory tend to be proficient firefighters and foresters as well, as the ‘Riders’ love of plasma and incendiary weaponry tends to cause a lot of collateral damage. Blood Rider militias are also the second-strongest in the use of artillery (after the Skullcrushers), in part to keep the collateral damage of the Blood Riders’ enthusiastic combat style well away from the communities they are charged with protecting.
Ghost Rider territory supports few militias; the MadHaven mutants at the heart of Ghost Rider territory are fiercely independent, so those communities that see themselves as beholden to the ‘Riders tend to be scattered and widespread around western Long Island, inland New York, and the northern New Jersey shore. However scattered they may be, though, the Ghost Riders’ proficiency with communications networks serves well to keep them linked, and the Shemarrians have kept the majority of them supplied with equipment salvaged from scavengers in MadHaven, with the added benefit of much of it being refurbished by the mutants as part of a trade deal.
The Skullcrushers have been late to allow militias in their territories, in part due to their fears of their spiritual ‘taint’ poisoning those who survived the turmoil in their demesnes. However, that very fear has fueled the growth of regional militias, mainly from those turned away from being allowed to join the scant ranks of the Skullcrusher NeShemar. Ultimately, the Skullcrushers have had to relent, and began actively supporting their new followers, who have proven among the most aggressive of the regional satrapy militias. Skullcrusher militias have been quick to emulate their regional overlords, adopting heavy weaponry ranging from heavy machine guns firing explosive bullets to refurbished tube and rocket artillery, which they tend to use enthusiastically in indirect fire support of their Tribal protectors. This, in turn, has further pushed the SkullCrushers to expand their logistics capabilities, to keep their new auxiliaries well-stocked with ammunition and spare parts. Because of their gung-ho attitudes, Skullcrusher militias are often referred to as ‘crackskulls’, a nickname further amplified by a trend among them to use second-hand Coalition States body armor, at least helmets similar to CS ‘deadboy’ helms, only decorated with prominently repaired damage or painted-on cracks and gashes.
Perhaps the largest number of militias exist in Horrorwoods territory, where both the fecundity of the environment and the difficulties of fast travel through dense forest, jungle, and wetlands encourages both many communities and a high degree of self-reliance when it comes to community defense. These units are liberally equipped with a variety of homemade and second-hand salvaged gear, but they enjoy a high degree of networking, courtesy of the Horrorwoods’ ‘woodweb’ of electronic botany and e-animal messengers, allowing a strong level of networking between groups.
The nomadic nature of the Wolf’s Path social structure discourages any large permanent settlements of EShemar, so allowing militias in those communities along the Tribal territorial ‘circuit’ would make sense. Wolf’s Path militia units tend to be more defensive in nature, protecting their communities and local assets deemed valuable to the Shemarrian Nation (such as mines, salvage sites, aquifers, forests, supply depots, etc.). WP militias are frequently ‘gifted’ with ‘feral’ packs of Shemarrian Wolves that police the regions around their communities. While some people may see this as a form of intimidation and imprisonment (vicious animals stalking around a town’s borders, watching the comings and goings), the locals regard the presence of these packs as a useful early warning system and a sign that their Shemarrian protectors are never far away.
After the Sapphire Cobra, the militias of the Silvermoon lands see the most effort at standardization, as the protocol-strong Silvermoons have issued both equipment (especially armor) and rigorous training to their militia auxiliaries. Units that show a lack of courage and endurance are weeded out, even if the Silvermoons have to introduce new residents to a community to insure a strong and reliable regional manpower and militia pool.
The Sapphire Cobra ‘cult’ encourages community defense, and their militia are frequently members of the temples. Sapphire Cobra-affiliated militias are thus among the most colorfully-accoutered, with a distinctive snake-scale pattern body armor being Tribe-issued. SC militias often intermingle with groups like the Cadejar, lending the appearance of a most militant ‘snake cult’, and regional temples and plantations often serve as strongpoints for the militias’ defensive actions, or staging areas for their rapid response sweeps.
The wide expanses of the Northwest, plus the influx of refugees seeking sanctuary west of the Rockies from the Coalition States has encouraged the growth of regional defense militias in the rather loosely-affiliated territories of the Wayfinders. The Wayfinders are very liberal and lighthanded when it comes to handing out any sort of standards for equipping these groups, but they are quick to offer magical support (including communications) to the peoples under their watch.
The Lost Eclipse has little truck with militias, since few normal people can properly appreciate or emulate how crazy the Nightmares really are. The Lost Eclipse tolerates militias in their territory, but takes no real active role in directly supporting or supplying them, aside from leaving the battlefield remains of their victims where the locals can scavenge them. Community guards in Lost Eclipse territory tend to be most active during the daylight hours; it’s understood that the night belongs to the Nightmares.
Shemarrian militia are less common in the Shemarrian Star Nation, since most of their settled territory has been initially settled directly by the Shemarrians and their NeShemar, and thus the regional military forces are directly part of the existing EShemar organization. Still, on those worlds where the Shemarrians have taken protectorship or governance of already existing societies or colonies, local militias, some quite substantial in size, have arisen to support the Shemarrian overlords.